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If you ever struggle with ‘social anxiety,’ you need to read this:

Alex Mathers
3 min readMar 19, 2023


I know what it’s like to feel slow, ugly, and weird around other people.

It’s human to want to avoid making mistakes in front of others.

We all have a part of us that strives to fit in, connect and avoid disharmony in relationships.

It didn’t serve us to be rejected by a community or potential mate for millennia because this meant our survival was at stake.

It’s totally fair that you’d get nervous in the face of potential rejection from another human.

A few nerves here and there are fine. It keeps us alert and points us to the things we care about.

But some of us can allow social fear to exceed its purpose, and we enter into a dark and alien land: the spiral of overthinking.

So here’s the first life-changing point:

Social anxiety is overthinking.

We allow our thoughts to speed up unnecessarily, which we then feel.

Social anxiety is NOT what I thought it was for years:

  • ‘I’m a special, strange case.’
  • ‘I am traumatised and need therapy.’
  • ‘Other people make me nervous.’
  • ‘There’s something wrong with me.’
  • ‘I have ‘socially anxious’ genes.’
  • ‘I have some kind of ‘disorder.”

It’s none of these things.

It’s only this:

I tolerate negative thoughts about who I think I am.

Read it again:

I tolerate negative thoughts about who I think I am.

This is it.

These anxious thoughts create a sensation in the body that FEELS like anxiety.

And then we get anxious about having anxiety.

Very normal. But unnecessary, obviously.

Next vital point:


  • It isn’t even ‘anxiety.’
  • It isn’t the presence of other people.
  • It is not ‘social anxiety.’